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WBC: Pool E Preview from Tokyo

As Round 1 finishes up in North America, Round 2 begins in Asia at the 2017 World Baseball Classic and we are here with a Pool E Preview from Tokyo.

Pool E consists of the top two finishers in Pools A and B from Seoul and Tokyo. In Pool A, Israel shocked everyone by going 3-0 and winning the pool. The Netherlands picked up the no. 2 seed out of Pool A after going 2-1. Both South Korea and Chinese Taipei did not advance.

Coming out of Pool B are two of the top favorites in the tournament, Japan and Cuba. Japan won the pool finishing with a perfect 3-0 record, and they look to be the top of the heap going into Round 2. Cuba finished 2-1 defeating Australia 4-3 to advance to the next round.

Round 2 will be another round robin. The two no. 1 seeds from Round 1 will have an easier schedule simply because they will not play on back-to-back days. The no. 2 seeds will have games on back-to-back days.

Israel will have to keep its hot hand going, and they have the talent to do just that. Do not count them out of advancing to the semifinals. Japan is the clear favorite in the pool. The rest should be interesting to watch. This pool is up for grabs and could make for some interesting baseball.

Schedule for Round 2 in Tokyo, Japan:

Game 1 Saturday March 11th 10PM EST
Cuba vs Israel

Game 2 Sunday March 12th 6AM EST
Japan vs Netherlands

Game 3 Monday March 13th 6AM EST
Netherlands and Israel

Game 4 Tuesday March 14th 6AM EST
Cuba vs Japan

Game 5 Tuesday March 14th 11PM EST
Netherlands vs Cuba

Game 6 Wednesday March 15th 6AM EST
Israel vs Japan

Game 7 Thursday March 16th 6AM EST
Tiebreaker if necessary

All games will take place at the Tokyo Dome. More information on Pool E.

Pool E Preview Tokyo

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Australia Misses Opportunity; Japan Improves to 2-0 at WBC

Australia misses opportunity; Japan improves to 2-0

Australia jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an Allan de San Miguel homer in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Even San Miguel wasn’t sure it was out of the park as he stopped at 2nd base looking around for what happened.

Tim Atherton pitched well for Australia. After a jam in the first inning, which looked like he was in trouble with runners at 2nd and 3rd and just one out, he pitched out of it. The biggest thing he did the rest of the way was work quickly and pitch to contact. He did not waste pitches and that allowed him to go deeper in the game with the pitch count at just 65.

Japan tied the game in the top of the 5th, but the big excitement came in the bottom half of the inning. Australia loaded the bases starting with a hit by pitch of Allan de San Miguel. After a strikeout of Trent Oeltjen, Brad Harman singled which prompted Japan to pull its starter Tomoyuki Sugano. Replacing Sugano was Toshiya Okada who quickly loaded the bases with four wide against David Kandilas.

Okada continued his wildness with 2 straight wide to James Beresford, who then bailed out Japan not being patient. Okada had not come close with 6 straight pitches. His first strike wasn’t taken by Beresford, instead it was hit weakly to second base where Japan turned a double play getting out of the inning with no damage done.

After the missed opportunity for Australia, Japan took its first lead of the game in the 7th. Sho Nakata hit a hanging breaking ball from new Aussie pitcher Matt Williams into the left field stands. Japan would add 2 more runs in the top of the 8th inning on a Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh 2-run homer down the right field line scoring Norichika Aoki who had walked.

The loss does not eliminate Australia, but now they must come back strong in their next game against China early on Thursday in Tokyo. Japan now sits in the driver’s seat in the Pool.

Full Box Score

Pool B Standings in Tokyo, Japan:

  1. Japan 2-0
  2. Cuba 1-1
  3. Australia 0-1
  4. China 0-1

Japan Improves 2-0

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Netherlands Walk Off with Win Against Chinese Taipei

Netherlands Walk Off with Win and Walk into Round 2

The Netherlands got the scoring started in the 2nd inning. Wladimir Balentien singled to start the inning. After a fly out from Jonathan Schoop, Didi Gregorius just missed a home run lining a double off the right field wall that put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Curt Smith grounded into a fielder’s choice but Dashenko Ricardo came through for the Dutch with a single to center scoring Smith from 3rd to give them a 1-0 lead.

However, Chinese Taipei came right back in the top of the 3rd inning to take the lead. The first run came on a wild pitch by Jair Jurrjens that tied the game. Chih-Sheng Lin then followed that up with a RBI single to put Chinese Taipei up 2-1.

In the back-and-forth game, the Netherlands went back on top 3-2 on a 2-run double by Didi Gregorius scoring both Balentien and Schoop, both who had singled. Ricardo followed that up with a RBI single to right to score Gregorius, and they continued to threaten. Randolph Oduber was then hit by a pitch putting runners at 1st and 2nd as the Dutch lineup came back around to the top of the order. However, Chinese Taipei was able to get out of the inning after getting Andrelton Simmons to ground into a double play.

And as the game went Chinese Taipei bounced right back with 3 runs of its own in the top of the 5th to go up 5-4. The Dutch would tie the game in the bottom of the 8th setting up the walk-off win in the 9th inning.

With the bases loaded, Jurickson Profar was the hero once again. He took a 3-2 pitch high and outside for the walk-off walk.

The win puts the Netherlands and Israel into Round 2 in Tokyo.

Notable Players:

Didi Gregorius finished the game with 3 RBI, 2 runs scored, and 3 doubles to lead the Dutch offense.

Wladimir Balentien went 4-for-4 in the game raising his average so far in the WBC to .714.

Mike Bolsenbroek pitched solid out of the pen for the Dutch. He tossed 3.0 shutout innings in relief.

On the Chinese Taipei side, Chih-Hao Chang went 3-for-5 including a 2-run home run.

Pool A Standings from Seoul, South Korea:

  1. Israel 2-0
  2. Netherlands 2-0
  3. South Korea 0-2
  4. Chinese Taipei 0-2

Israel and the Netherlands will play to see who gets the no. 1 seed from Pool A going into Round 2.

Netherlands Walk Off

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WBC: China falls to Cuba in Pool B

China falls to Cuba in Tokyo

China struggled at the plate collecting just a single hit against Cuba at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Bruce Chen pitched well for China, but only lasted 2.2 innings due to pitch count limits. And once Chen was out, the hitting really began for Cuba.

Xia Luo came on to relieve Chen and was greeted rudely by the Cuban bats. Luo would wind up giving up 4 runs in an inning of work. He gave up 5 hits, walked 2, and struck out none. That was all Cuba would need to cruise to its first victory of the WBC behind starter Bladimir Banos.

Banos picked up the win going 5.0 shutout innings. He gave up the only hit of the game by China and struck out 4. The Cuba pitching staff struck out 10 total over the game as they dominated the young hitters from China.

Notable Players:

Roel Santos finished 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. He doubled and tripled.

Shortstop Alexander Ayala drove in a run and went 3-for-4.

Yurisbel Gracial also went 3-for-4 in the game for Cuba en route to the win.

Livan Moinelo tossed an inning of relief striking out 3 for Cuba.

Up next for both China and Cuba will be Australia. China plays next on Thursday night, and Cuba comes back early on Friday.

Full Box Score

WBC Pool B Standings:

  1. Japan 1-0
  2. Cuba 1-1
  3. China 0-1
  4. Australia 0-0

China falls Cuba

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Team China Preview: 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team China Preview: 2017 World Baseball Classic

There has been no player of Chinese birth and ethnicity to make the Major Leagues. Only one player born in China has played at that level, and he was the son of missionaries in China. That would be Harry Kingman who played a few games in 1914 for the New York Yankees.

Ray Chang came close to making it to the big leagues. He put together a solid minor league and international career. This will be his third WBC with China after which he will call it a career. When he hangs up his spikes he will go onto what might be an even more important career for the game itself, running the Nanjing academy full time.

Trying to become the first player born in China to make it to the big leagues is Xu Guiyuan. He made his pro debut in 2016 for the Gulf Coast League Orioles, and he is one to watch for China in the WBC.

Giving China a veteran presence is Bruce Chen. The 17-year MLB veteran will get the nod in Game 1 for China against Cuba. With 82 big league wins Chen brings experience to the team that can only benefit the youngsters from China. And that is really what all of this is about for China.

China might surprise a few. They might steal a win like they have done in the past, but don’t look for them to get out of Round 1. It is about the future and all of the young players playing for them will not only get the experience of a lifetime, but they will be getting experience they can use moving forward in their baseball careers.

Team China Preview: 2017 World Baseball Classic

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Netherlands downs South Korea at WBC

The Netherlands downs South Korea at WBC

Jumping out to an early lead, the Netherlands downs South Korea in Pool A at the WBC. Andrelton Simmons led off the game with a single to left coming around to score on a 2-run shot from Jurickson Profar. With the quick lead, the Netherlands really took the air out of the stadium and dealt a huge blow to host South Korea.

Both Simmons and Profar finished the game with two hits apiece. Also with two hits were Dashenko Ricardo and Randolph Oduber. Oduber also hit a 2-run home run in the 6th inning giving the Dutch its final 5-0 lead.

Rick van den Hurk picked up the win for the Netherlands. He tossed 4.0 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits and a pair of walks. The rest of the Dutch bullpen shut down the Korea bats the rest of the way including Diego Markwell, Shairon Martis, Tom Stuifbergen, and Loek van Mil.

The biggest problem so far for Korea, which looks like it will be out after Round 1, has been its offense. They managed just 6 hits against the Netherlands and 7 against Israel. They will now get a day off before coming back to finish out Round 1 against Chinese Taipei.

The Netherlands team has a lot of talent featuring some of the best young players in Major League Baseball and one of the most prolific sluggers from Japan. The lineup is loaded, and the pitching should be enough to carry them deep into the tournament. Then again that is what many thought about South Korea too and that has not been the case so far.

Up next for the Netherlands will be Chinese Taipei. A win would seal a Round 2 birth for both themselves and Israel.

Pool A Standings:

  1. Israel 2-0
  2. Netherlands 1-0
  3. Chinese Taipei 0-1
  4. South Korea 0-2

Full Box Score

Netherlands downs South Korea WBC

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Israel Routes Chinese Taipei at World Baseball Classic

Israel routes Chinese Taipei

Israel blasted Chinese Taipei in Game 2 of Pool A in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Team Israel jumped out to a 4-0 lead after half an inning. Sam Fuld led off the game with a single to right. Ty Kelly followed him up with a long double off the right field wall to put runners at 2nd and 3rd, and Ike Davis kept hitting. Lining a rocket to right, Davis drove in both Fuld and Kelly to get Israel on the board. Then for the 4th time in their short tournament, Israel loaded the bases. This time they got a big hit from Tyler Krieger who singled up the middle driving in 2 runs.

After Kuan-yu Chen came in to relive starter Chun-lin Kuo, things started to settle down for Chinese Taipei. That is until Ryan Larvanway came up with a runner on in the top of the 3rd inning. Lavarnway drilled a pitch to deep left-center for a 2-run home run putting Israel up 6-0.

Team Israel got a nice start from Corey Baker who went 4.2 innings allowing just 3 hits and striking out 3. R.C. Orlan came on to relieve him in the 5th inning.

Chinese Taipei got a break in the bottom of the 6th inning when reliever Orlan fielded a ground ball that was tailor made for a double play. The throw was a bit off line and the shortstop Krieger could not come up with it allowing the hitter to reach and putting runners at the corners. After a walk loading the bases, Orlan was pulled in favor of Tyler Herron.

And then just like that Chinese Taipei was back in the game. Chih-sheng Lin just missed a grand slam as he doubled off the wall in left to drive in 2 runs. Yi-chuan Lin followed with a sacrifice fly to cut the Israel lead to 6-3.

Ike Davis led off the top of the 7th inning with a stand up triple off the top of the wall in dead center field. He was quickly driven in by Nate Freiman who singled to left making it 7-3 Israel. Once again Israel would load the bases in the 7th and once again it was Tyler Krieger with a big hit. His RBI single made it 8-3 giving him 3 RBI in the game.

Then the flood gates opened on a squeeze bunt. Yes you read that right. Burcham laid down the bunt with the bases loaded but nobody covered first base and the throw from the pitcher went all the way down the right field line. On the play, three runs would score for Israel making it 11-3.

Both teams would add additional runs in the 9th inning. Freiman hit a 3-run homer for Israel, and Chinese Taipei would add 4 runs to make the final score 15-7.

Baker picked up the win for Israel, while Kuo took the loss.

Israel sits in a great spot to advance to Round 2. They play their final game of Round 1 on Thursday (Wednesday pm US time) against the Netherlands.

Full Box Score

Israel routes Chinese Taipei

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WBC: Japan vs Cuba Game 1 Pool B Preview

Pool B in the 2017 World Baseball Classic will get kicked off on Tuesday with Japan vs Cuba. Two of the favorites not only in Pool B, but to win the tournament, will face off with each other in a rematch of the 2006 World Baseball Classic Championship match.

Japan is looking to get back to the championship game, which it won the first two editions of the tournament in 2006 and 2009. Getting the nod on the hill for Game 1 will be Ayumu Ishikawa from the Chiba Lotte Marines. The right-handed hurler had a great year in 2016 for the Marines going 14-5 with an ERA of just 2.16 over 162.1 innings. He will not blow you away, striking out just 6.1/9 over his career, but has great stuff.

Getting the start for Cuba will be Noelvis Entenza. The big righty has pitched for  most of his career with the Elefantes de Cienfuegos of the Cuban National Series. In 2016, split with two teams, Entenza went 5-1 with an ERA of 3.20 over 70.1 innings. Like Ishikawa, Entenza will not blow you away striking out just 6.3/9 over his 13 year career in Cuba.

Players to Watch

Cuba

Alfredo Despaigne – Slugger and former teammate of Japan starter Ishikawa, Despaigne will lead Team Cuba against the no. 1 world ranked Japan. Playing with Chiba Lotte in 2016, he belted 24 home runs while hitting .280. He will play for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in 2017.

Roel Santos – The speedy outfielder had a couple of hits in a warm up game against the Orix Buffaloes. He could set the table for the big bats like Despaigne and use his speed to wreck havoc on the bases.

Japan

Tetsuto Yamada – He led off a recent warm up game against a Taiwanese All-Star team with a home run. The young middle infielder from the Yakult Swallows has had back-to-back huge seasons in the NPB with two straight 38 home run seasons.

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo – The Yokohama Bay Stars slugger will be an imposing force in the middle of the Japan lineup. He hit 44 bombs last season for Yokohama while hitting .322. Look for him to have a big impact at the plate the entire WBC.

Japan vs Cuba

Japan vs Cuba

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WBC: South Korea vs Netherlands Game 3 Pool A Preview

Following their 2-1 loss to Israel, South Korea vs Netherlands will be Game 3 of Pool A of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. It will be the first game for the Dutch who now look to put Korea in a deep hole that they might not be able to get out of.

South Korea, ranked no. 3 in the world, will turn to right-handed Kyu-min Woo of the Samsung Lions to shut down the potent Dutch lineup. Woo pitched last year with the LG Twins of the KBO where he went 6-11 with a 4.91 ERA. And he will have a tough task against a solid lineup.

While the Netherlands will put a lot of experience on the mound, its strength will be in its lineup, especially its infield. However, going for the Netherlands against South Korea will be former KBO pitcher Rick van den Hurk. He pitched for the Samsung Lions for two seasons going a combined 20-13 including 13-4 in 2014. The past two seasons van den Hurk has been pitching in Japan where he has had continued success going a combined 16-3.

Players to Watch

South Korea

Hyun-wook Choi – He has been slumping in warm up games and thus did not get the start in Game 1. However, his big left-handed bat could come into play so look for him to get the start.

Dae-ho Lee – He can get hot and carry a team and right now his team needs someone to be that spark. He was robbed of extra bases by Sam Fuld in Game 1, look for him to get his bat going and give South Korea some thunder it is badly needing.

Netherlands

Didi Gregorius – There is so much talent in the infield for the Netherlands. However, Didi is one of the few left-handed hitters and this I feel will come into play against the sidewinding Woo.

Jurickson Profar – Again Profar will start the game from the left side of the plate. A switch-hitter, Profar has shown more power over the years from the left side of the plate.

Game time is 4:30 am ET and can be seen on MLB Network or MLB.TV (US only).

South Korea vs Netherlands

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Israel Defeats South Korea on Day 1 of World Baseball Classic

Despite many missed opportunities, Israel defeated South Korea 2-1 in Game 1 of the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Seoul on early Monday morning USA time.

Israel took an early 1-0 lead scoring on a bases loaded walk to Tyler Krieger, but the big story was how Korea got out of a huge jam giving up just a single run. Israel loaded the bases with 1 out, but after the Krieger walk Scott Burcham struck out and Sam Fuld grounded out to end the inning.

Jason Marquis got the start for Team Israel, and pitched well. He pitched 3.0 scoreless innings giving up just 2 hits while striking out 3 but came out due to pitch limits. With Marquis staying under 50 pitches he is eligible to come back and pitch again in Israel’s game against the Netherlands on Thursday.

Korea tied the game in the bottom of the 5th on a RBI single from Geon-chang Seo. Jeremy Bleich  got out of the inning without giving up anymore runs leaving it tied at 1 apiece.

Won-jun Chang pitched well for Korea getting the start. With a deeper pitching staff, Chang pitched to his limit of 65 pitches. He got through 4.0 innings giving up just 1 run on 2 hits. He walked 3 and struck out 5.

Israel threatened in the top of the 8th inning. Zach Borenstein walked with one out. Ike Davis came in as a pinch hitter and laced a ball down the right field line for a double putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. After Ryan Lavarnway was intentionally walked to load the bases, Tyler Krieger hit an excuse me ground ball to third base where Korea got a force out at home. Then Korea sent out Seung-hwan Oh the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals. He quickly sat down Scott Burcham for the final out of the inning preserving the 1-1 tie.

After stopping the rally in the top of the 8th, Korea came right back in the bottom of the 8th. Kyun-kim Tae walked to lead off the inning. After Dae-ho Lee struck out swinging, Ah-seop Son singled to center putting runners at the corners with just 1 out. But a chopper to third led to nailing the runner at home leaving Korea with runners at 1st and 2nd and 2 outs. Josh Zeid somehow worked his way out of trouble though leaving it tied after 8 innings.

Israel really struggled with men in scoring position going 1-9. They left 14 men on base including the bases loaded more than once. The big hit came in the top of the 10th when Scott Burcham came up with an infield single with runners on the corners putting Israel up 2-1.

Zeid would finish off the game to pick up the win in relief. He tossed 3.0 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit, 2 walks, and struck out 4. Chang-yong Lim took the loss giving up a run in an inning of work.

Israel has a quick turn around for Game 2 early on Tuesday afternoon Seoul time. While South Korea will try to regroup and bounce back on Tuesday against a stout Netherlands.

See Full Box Score 

Israel Defeats South Korea

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WBC: Israel vs Chinese Taipei Game 1 Pool A Preview

Team Israel has a short turnaround for Game 2 of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. After a late night game with host South Korea, they will turn around and play an early game Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.

Getting the start for Jerry Weinstein’s (@JWonCatching) Team Israel will be Corey Baker, a farmhand of the St. Louis Cardinals. Baker pitched last season in AA and AAA going 5-11 on the year with an ERA of 5.68. He will face a potent lineup for Chinese Taipei.

Baker’s opponent on the mound will be Chun-lin Kuo for Chinese Taipei. Kuo pitched in 2016 in the Nippon Professional Baseball league with the Seibu Lions where he went 0-3 with an ERA over 8. In two seasons in Japan, Kuo is 3-10 with an ERA of 6.00.

Players to watch:

Israel

Ike Davis – Look for the big power hitting lefty to get a start against the right handed starter. Davis is just a few seasons removed from hitting 32 homers for the New York Mets. He has struggled a bit in the past few years, but still poses a threat at the plate.

Sam Fuld – Fuld was everywhere it seemed in Game 1. Defensively he is still great in centerfield showing that with a diving save of a double off the bat of Dae-ho Lee. He will be a big part of the Israel offense moving forward if he can set the table.

Zach Borenstein – He had a big double in Game 1 off lefty starter Won-jun Chang. He could provide the power needed from the left side of the plate for Israel as they face Chinese Taipei.

Chinese Taipei

Kuo-Hui Kao – The Fubon Guardians outfielder had a huge year in 2016 in the CPBL with 34 home runs. The 31-year old who spent some time in the states getting as high as AA ball will anchor the lower half of the order.

Chih-Hsien Chiang – The third baseman for the Chinatrust Brothers will provide a potent 1-2 punch in the middle of the order for Chinese Taipei with Chih-sheng Lin. Both hit 30+ homers in 2016 with Chiang hitting .402 on the season.

Israel vs Chinese Taipei

Israel vs Chinese Taipei

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WBC: South Korea vs Israel Game 1 Pool A Preview

Quick preview of Game 1 of the 2017 World Baseball Classic – South Korea vs Israel from the Gocheok Dome in Seoul.

Israel is playing in its first WBC game having advanced to the 2017 Tournament through winning a qualifier in late 2016. Team Israel swept through the qualifier in Brooklyn by defeating Great Britain twice and Brazil once.

Israel will be sending 38-year old MLB veteran Jason Marquis to the mound against what Israel manager Jerry Weinstein called “a formidable team”. Marquis helped pitch Israel into the main tournament with a pair of outings last September. He tossed 7.0 innings giving up just 1 run on two hits. He will need similar stats if Israel can come up with a win.

Marquis opponent on the mound will be Won-jun Chang of the Doosan Bears. Chang put together a record of 15-6 with an ERA of 3.32 in the KBO in 2016. He has WBC experience having pitched the Pool B final in 2013 against Chinese Taipei.

South Korea is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 WBC when they did not make it past Round 1. They finished pool play with a  2-1 record but failed to advance due to the tiebreaker rules on run differential.

Players to Watch:

Israel:

Sam Fuld – Coming off a missed season due to shoulder surgery, and Fuld is looking to get a few at bats to impress perspective teams. He will face some good competition in Seoul and might work his way into a contract with a healthy showing.

Craig Breslow – A non-roster invitee to Spring Training with the Twins, Breslow could use a good showing in Seoul to help garner that next MLB assignment weather it is with the Twins or another team. There are a lot of good left-handed bats for Korea so he might come up in a big situation late in the game.

Nate Freiman – He absolutely crushed the competition in the 2012 Qualifier hitting 4 home runs, but Israel failed to make it to the big tourney. This time he will be facing off with a lefty and his big bat from the right side could play a big impact on the game and possible upset win over Korea.

South Korea:

Seung-hwan Oh – The Cardinals relief pitcher has been practically unhittable his entire career. If the game is close late, look for Oh to shut down the Israel bats with relative ease.

Hyoung-woo Choi – The Samsung Lions slugger put up incredible numbers a year ago (.376 avg/46 doubles/ 31 HR/ 144 RBI) but he has been in a slump (0-17) of late and might sit in Game 1. But look for him, if he doesn’t start, to have a big at bat off the bench. If he starts, look for him to bust out of his slump.

Tae-kyun Kim – The Hanwha Eagles slugger brings yet another big bat to the Korea lineup. In 2016, Kim slugged 23 home runs and 39 doubles. But the biggest thing that stood out to me is that he walked more times (108) than he struck out (97). So while he has a big bat and might swing and miss, he also has a good enough eye to take a walk setting up his teammates.

Game time is 4:30 AM ET and you can catch the action in several different places including MLB Network or MLB.TV.

South Korea vs Israel

South Korea vs Israel

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2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions

Predictions are usually not right, but they are fun and thus we are going to do some 2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions.

I’ve done predictions for many years, and very rarely do they come to fruition. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are fun to do and fun to talk about. So with that, I am going to go through each pool and predict what will happen. A lot of this is based on rosters, but not all of it. Some of it is just a gut feel which may help others to see why I am doing what I am doing. I do not think everyone will agree with me either. Of course, that is half the fun. So here we go.

Pool A

Pool A will consist of the following teams: South Korea (host), Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, and Israel.

My Standings:

  1. Netherlands 3-0 (50:1 odds)
  2. South Korea 2-1 (15:1 odds)
  3. Israel 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. Chinese Taipei 0-3 (120:1 odds)

I am probably following most predictions in that the two teams I see advancing are South Korea and the Netherlands. However, I am going to predict a few things that others may not like. First, I see the Netherlands winning this pool. I think this comes down to Game 3 on Tuesday March 7th between these two clubs, and I feel that the Dutch will outscore Korea in a shootout. The other “out on a limb” prediction I am going to make is that Israel beats Chinese Taipei, and I think they come within a few innings of advancing but fall to South Korea in their match up. They are one team that will be overlooked and under appreciated, and that is why I think they make a run. I think they will come out and shock South Korea by nearly beating them in Game 1 of pool play.

Pool B

Pool B consists of Japan (host), Cuba, China, and Australia.

  1. Japan 3-0 (3:1 odds)
  2. Cuba 2-1 (12:1 odds)
  3. Australia 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. China 0-3 (200:1 odds)

In Tokyo I feel Japan will dominate only having a contest with Cuba. They are the class of Pool B and a title contender. The rest of the field I think will be fun and interesting to watch. Japan is one of the favorites (3rd best odds according to Vegas Insider) with Cuba not being too far behind. I think 3rd place comes down to Australia vs China and fear that is really all they are playing for. Australia could make a run with a shock against Cuba, but I don’t see that happening. China is really the unknown here, but don’t look for them to finish higher than third.

Pool C 

Pool C consists of United States (host), Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Canada.

  1. Dominican Republic 3-0 (5:2 odds)
  2. United States 2-1 (11:5 odds)
  3. Canada 1-2 (60:1 odds)
  4. Colombia 0-3 (120:1 odds)

This is one pool I am really excited to see. The USA is favored by many to win the whole thing. I am not convinced. I think they struggle to make it out of pool play just getting past both Canada and Colombia. I see the Dominican to dominate the pool and win easily against all three opponents.

Pool D

Pool D consists of Mexico (host), Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Italy.

  1. Puerto Rico 2-1 (10:1 odds)
  2. Venezuela 2-1 (6:1 odds)
  3. Mexico 1-2 (40:1 odds)
  4. Italy 1-2 (120:1 odds)

This might be the most wide open pool. It is the only one where I am going to predict the host country doesn’t make it out of the round. I think it all comes down to the final game between Mexico and Venezuela, and I am going with Venezuela. I think Italy will shock a team (perhaps Mexico) and create havoc in the pool play, and don’t look for anyone here to go undefeated. It is going to be a wide open pool. This also might be the only pool where the first round tiebreaker game is needed, although I could see it possibly used in Pool C as well.

Round 2

Pool E in Tokyo, Japan will consist of Cuba, Netherlands, Japan (host), and South Korea.

This pool will be a great one to watch. I see Japan and the Netherlands coming out of it to advance to the semifinal round. This will be a hotly contested round, but I see it going down in the following fashion:

  1. Japan 2-1
  2. Netherlands 2-1
  3. Cuba 1-2
  4. South Korea 1-2

Pool F in San Diego will consist of USA, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

A lot of people are high on Puerto Rico, and rightfully so. However, I think this is where they fail to advance. There will be a lot of talent here and this will come down to the final games in the pool, and very well might need a tiebreaker game for a team to advance.

  1. Dominican Republic 2-1
  2. USA 2-1
  3. Puerto Rico 2-1
  4. Venezuela 0-3

Finals 

The Finals will take place in Los Angeles. And while I think we will see a new team garner a medal, I do not think we have a team win its first championship. Instead, I think we have a match up of the only two winners so far in Japan and the Dominican Republic.

Semifinals:

Dominican Republic 5,  Netherlands 2

Japan 3, USA 1

Championship

Japan 3, Dominican Republic 2 (11 Innings)

So there you have it. I am calling for an extra inning championship game where Japan reclaims its title. The Vegas favorite is the USA, but I see them coming up short in their quest for the title.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will be pulling for the USA in any game they play. At the same time I will be pulling for teams like Italy, Israel, and Australia to win since it will only help those countries going forward. I would love to see one of them advance to Round 2, but I just do not see it happening just yet. Italy advanced in 2013, but I feel their pool this go around will be stronger. But it is not out of the realm of possibility.

I’d love to hear what you think and who you think will win it all.

2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions

 

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2017 World Baseball Classic Rules Announced

World Baseball Classic, Inc. today announced the rules and rule modifications for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which will begin on Monday, March 6th when Korea hosts Israel at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. Final rosters for each of the 16 participating countries will be unveiled tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on MLB Network.

Please see the attached document for 2017 WBC rules and rule modifications. Notable rules include:

  • Tie-Breaker Game: If at the end of pool play in the First and Second Rounds of the Tournament, teams within a pool are tied with an identical winning percentage, then the tie shall be broken in the following order of priority with the higher ranked Federation Team serving as the home team.
    • First and Second Place Teams Tied: In the event that the first and second-place teams are tied for Pool Winner designation, the Team that defeated the other tied Team in that Round shall be ranked higher in the pool standings for that Round.
    • Three Teams Tied 2-1: If there are three teams 2-1, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first-ranked team would advance. The second and third-ranked teams would play an additional game to determine who the second-place team is. The tiebreaker rules applied would be as follows:
      • Step 1: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings for that Round according to fewest runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 2: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings according to fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 3: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings according to highest batting average in games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 4: Standings shall be determined by the drawing of lots, conducted by WBCI.
    • Three Teams Tied 1-2: If there are three teams tied 1-2, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first two ranked teams would play a tiebreaker game, the winner of which would advance. The tiebreaker rules will be applied using the same four steps listed above.
    • Championship Round: The Semi-final game and Final game of the Tournament shall be conducted in a single elimination format. Each Semi-final game shall match a winner of a Second Round pool against a runner-up of the other Second Round pool. The winners of each Semi-final game shall meet in the Championship game of the Tournament.
  • Extra Innings: For any inning beginning with the 11th inning, the Federation Team at bat shall begin the inning with runners on first and second base. The batter who leads off an inning shall continue to be the batter who would lead off the inning in the absence of this extra-innings rule. The runner on first base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the batter who leads off the inning. The runner on second base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the runner on first base.
  • Designated Pitcher Pool: Each Federation Team may identify a designated pool of 10 pitchers who are eligible to participate in one or more consecutive rounds. The list is submitted to WBCI at the time the Provisional and Final rosters are due. For the Federation Team to utilize the Designated Pitcher Pool, the Federation Team’s Final Roster shall include one or two pitchers from the pool. If no pitcher is listed from the pool, on their submitted roster to WBCI, the Federation Team is prohibited from using the Designated Pitcher Pool for the remainder of the Tournament. Once the pool pitcher is named on a Tournament roster and subsequently removed prior to the next round, the pitcher is no longer eligible to participate. After each round of the Tournament, any pitcher from an advancing Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool may be replaced on the Federation’s Final Roster with another pitcher from that Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool, provided that no member of the Designated Pitcher Pool may be added back to his Federation’s Final Roster once he has been replaced by another member of the Designated Pitcher Pool. Affiliated members of the Designated Pitcher Pool who are not included on their federation’s Roster for a given round of the Tournament should report to or remain with their Major League Club, as directed by the Club. If the pitcher being replaced is an affiliated pitcher, he must return to his Major League Club’s spring training camp once he is no longer an active member of the Federation’s 28-man roster.
  • Video Replay Review: In the First and Second Rounds, video replay review by umpires shall be available to assist the umpires only in regard to plays involving home runs or potential home runs. If the umpire crew chief determines that video replay review is appropriate, the umpire crew chief shall conduct the review himself with participation from at least one other member of the umpire crew. For the Championship Round, video replay review by the umpires shall be available to assist the umpires in the same manner as used during the Major League Baseball championship season, with the exception of manager challenges.

Tickets for the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, which includes two semi-final games and the final game, are available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. Tickets for WBC games played at Marlins Park in Miami, Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Jalisco and Petco Park in San Diego are also available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. In addition, a special three-game ticket pack is available for Pool F in San Diego, and individual team ticket packs are available for Pool C in Miami.

In the United States, tournament games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch; while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish language coverage. Internationally, leading global media rights agency, MP & Silva has teamed with WBCI to distribute the tournament across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio – all territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan.

World Baseball Classic Rules

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Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

The defending champion Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster has been announced, and they may be on track to make it two in a row.

The Dominican will be led by the likes of Robinson Cano, Adrian Beltre, and Manny Machado in the infield. They have just as much talent everywhere else.

In 2013 starting pitcher Sam Deduno went 2-0 in 3 starts with a 0.69 ERA. He is back for more and should figure into the rotation for the team. Edison Volquez is also back after starting 3 times in 2013. Following up the starters is a bullpen that is full of strong arms. Santiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney are both back after pitching in 2013. Joining those two will be the likes of Jeurys Familia who had 51 saves a year ago with the Mets.

Another big arm in the bullpen will be Alex Colome. The young hard throwing righty savd 37 games for Tampa Bay a season ago. Dellin Betances saved 12 games a year ago for the Yankees pitching in 73 games. Over his 73 innings he struck out 126 or 15.5 per 9.

The defending champions will face off with Canada, Colombia, and the United States in Pool C in Miami, Florida. Their first game will come on Thursday March 9th at 6 PM EST versus Team Canada.

Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Fernando Abad
Dellin Betances
Santiago Casilla
Alex Colome
Bartolo Colon
Johnny Cueto
Sam Deduno
Jumbo Diaz
Jeurys Familia
Edgar Garcia
Carlos Martinez
Hector Neris
Ivan Nova
Wily Peralta
Alex Reyes
Hansel Robles
Fernando Rodney
Bryan Rodriguez
Enny Romero
Luis Severino
Cesar Valdez
Edinson Volquez

Catchers:
Welington Castillo
Alberto Rosario

Infielders:
Adrian Beltre
Robinson Cano
Manny Machado
Hanley Ramirez
Jose Reyes
Carlos Santana
Jonathan Villar

Outfielders:
Jose Bautista
Nelson Cruz
Starling Marte
Gregory Polanco
Mel Rojas

 Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

Other Rosters:
Team USA

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Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster Announced

Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster was announced today, and it looks good at first glance. The team that manager Jim Leyland will be leading this go around will feature a lot of great young talent from the big leagues.

Catchers

Former NL MVP Buster Posey leads the catching crew this year, but he is paired up with two other strong guys behind the plate. This will be a key position because not only will they be looked to for some offensive punch, but they will be looked upon to lead this talented but young and diverse pitching staff. Joining Posey will be Jonathan Lucroy, who played in 2013, although sparingly. A.J. Ellis will be the eldest statesman behind the plate.

Infielders

This is the group that really excites me when I look at the group as a whole. Led by some established stars like Paul Goldschmidt and Ian Kinsler the infield features some of the great young talent in the game from the USA. Nolan Arenado to me will be one to watch. The 25-year old is one that will show off his power and defense, but he will have big shoes to fill since David Wright really led the offense for Team USA in 2013 from the third base spot.

Another exciting player to watch from the infield will be Alex Bregman. He is a huge young talent, but with the breakdown of the roster it will interesting to see just how much playing time he will see.

Outfielders

This is an exciting group as well. Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Christian Yelich will be the guys patrolling the outfield for Team USA. Stanton and Jones both played in 2013, but neither was a huge impact for Team USA although they had good tournaments in different areas. Yelich might not be a name that many outside of Miami know, but the Marlins outfielder will show his talent come March. He can hit, hit for power, and can play multiple positions including centerfield if necessary.

Pitchers

The pitching staff will include some of the best young arms in the game with a mix of veterans. Chris Archer is one to watch for me. The young hard throwing righty could be a force to reckon with if he shows up sharp. The back end of the bullpen will be a strong point for Team USA as well with the likes of Sam Dyson, Luke Gregerson, Andrew Miller, and David Robertson. Miller has already said he wants to be available for the entire tournament. Each team will have a pool of pitchers that they can choose from for each round which is why you will see so many names.

Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Catchers:

Infielders:

Outfielders:

Manager:

USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

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Puerto Rico Wins 2017 Caribbean Series

Puerto Rico wins 2017 Caribbean Series Championship defeating Mexico 1-0 in 10 innings.

After going 1-3 in the round robin, Puerto Rico found its 2nd win to take down Venezuela in the semifinal before downing Mexico to take the title. It was the 2nd Series title for the Criollos de Caguas, the first since 1987.

It was a pitching duel the entire way. Puerto Rico starter Adalberto Flores had a no hitter into the 6th inning, but he had to exit in the 7th with a blister on his pitching hand. He finished the night tossing 6 innings allowing just 1 hit. Andres Santiago came in to shut down the Mexico bats for 2 innings, before Miguel Mejia picked up the win finishing the final 2 innings.

Hector Velazquez had a good night dancing out of trouble a few times for Mexico. He threw 6.0 shutout innings allowing just 5 hits. Jake Sanchez took the loss giving up 1 run in the 10th inning.

The only run of the game came on a Jonathan Morales sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning. Yadiel Rivera led off the inning with a double. He was moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt before Morales drove him home with the winning run.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. 2, Puerto Rico 10
  • Cuba 3, Venezuela 8

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. 3, Venezuela 4
  • Mexico 0, Cuba 4

Monday, February 06:

Tuesday, February 07:

Puerto Rico Wins 2017 Caribbean Series

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Mexico Back in Caribbean Series Championship

Mexico is back in the Caribbean Series Championship after defeating Cuba 1-0 on the arm of Miguel Pena and Daniel Rodriguez.

Pena pitched 5 shutout innings giving up just 2 hits. He stymied the Cuban bats all night longs striking out 4. Following him on the hill was Rodriguez who tossed 3 hitless innings of his own, while striking out 5. Jake Sanchez (S, 2) came into finish off Cuba to pick up his second save of the Series.

Offensively Agustin Murillo picked up the only RBI on a single to left to drive in Ronnier Mustelier. Mexico as a team only combined for 5 hits, and Cuba was limited to 2.

Lazaro Blanco (L, 1-1) pitched well but took the loss for Cuba. He went 7 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits. He struck out 5.

Mexico returns to the championship looking for the countries 5th title in 7 years. These two countries have been in the finals the past two Caribbean Series with each taking a title.

The Aguilas de Mexicali (Mexico) is looking for the club’s 2nd title in its history with the last coming in 1986. Their opponent will be the Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) who will be in search of a 4th Series title, with the last coming in 1987.

First pitch is slated for 9pm ET Tuesday night.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. 2, Puerto Rico 10
  • Cuba 3, Venezuela 8

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. 3, Venezuela 4
  • Mexico 0, Cuba 4

Monday, February 06:

Tuesday, February 07:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Mexico 9:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 4-1
  2. Cuba 3-2
  3. Venezuela 3-2
  4. Puerto Rico 2-3
  5. Dominican Republic 0-4

Caribbean Series Championship

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2017 National High School Invitational Teams Announced

The teams for the 2017 National High School Invitational have been announced. The annual tournament will be in its 6th season this year when the teams converge on Carey, North Carolina and the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The tournament will take place from March 29-April 1.

Back again from last year will be the 2016 NHSI champion Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, CA). Several other schools are back for a second time, but none other has won a title.

Florida and California are the most represented states with the two combining for half the field. Illinois has its first ever contestant in the tournament with the invitation of Brother Rice High School out of Chicago.

The schedule for the 2017 edition of the tournament will be released February 21 as part of a pre-event video series that can be found at USABaseball.com.

2017 National High School Invitational Participants:
American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.)
Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, Fla.)
Arlington High School (Arlington, Tenn.)
Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.)
Canterbury School (Fort Meyers, Fla.)
Cullman High School (Cullman, Ala.)
Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, Calif.)
Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
Hough High School (Cornelius, N.C.)
Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Malvern Preparatory School (Malvern, Pa.)
Merritt Island High School (Merritt Island, Fla.)
Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.)
Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, Colo.)
South Hills High School (West Covina, Calif.)
Winder-Barrow High School (Winder, Ga.)

2017 National High School Invitational

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2017 Caribbean Series Championship: Puerto Rico vs. TBD

A team that started 1-3 in the round robin will be in the 2017 Caribbean Series Championship, Puerto Rico. It defeated Venezuela in the semifinal this afternoon 9-6.

Puerto Rico held off a late inning rally for the win after almost blowing a 9-2 lead. Puerto Rico picked up 4 runs in the top of the first to jump out on top of Venezuela starter Mitch Lively, who didn’t make it out of the first frame. They continued pounding reliever Wil Ledezma for 3 runs over 2.2 innings before he was pulled.

Orlando Roman (W, 1-0) got the start for Puerto Rico and pitched well going 5.0 innings. He gave up just 1 run on seven hits while striking out 7. Reliever William Oliver was touched up for 4 runs in 2.2 innings, all in the 8th inning.

Venezuela made a comeback picking up 4 in the 8th, including a 2-run double from Ronny Cedeno. Venezuela then loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 9th, but Ricardo Gomez worked out of the jam to pick up the save.

Notable Performers: David Vidal hit a home run and drove in 2 runs for Puerto Rico. Henry Ramos set the table going 3-for-5 and scoring 2 runs from the lead off spot. Denis Phipps homered in the loss for Venezuela.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. 2, Puerto Rico 10
  • Cuba 3, Venezuela 8

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. 3, Venezuela 4
  • Mexico 0, Cuba 4

Monday, February 06:

  • Cuba vs Mexico

Tuesday, February 07:

  • Puerto Rico vs. TBD 9:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 3-1
  2. Cuba 3-1
  3. Venezuela 3-2
  4. Puerto Rico 2-3
  5. Dominican Republic 0-4

Caribbean Series Championship, Puerto Rico

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Mexico Wins with Walk-Off Grand Slam at Caribbean Series in Culiacan

Mexico improved to 3-0 at the 2017 Caribbean Series in Culiacan on Friday night after Sebastian Valle ended the night on a walk-off grand slam. The loss sent Venezuela to a 1-1 record.

For 8 innings the game was a pitching duel. Both starters went at least 5 innings and both only allowed a single run. Carlos Hernandez got the nod for Venezuela going 5.2 innings allowing just 5 hits. For Mexico it was Barry Enright who went 5 innings allowing just 5 hits.

The bullpens were on as well. Three relievers for Mexico, including Oliver Perez (W, 1-0), shut down the Venezuela bats for the remaining 4 innings.

Venezuela had three strong outings from its pen as well, until Pedro Rodriguez entered the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. Rodriguez never got an out.

Luis Juarez singled to start the bottom of the 9th. Ronnier Mustelier was next to reach base before Jesus Castillo walked to load the bases. Then on a 3-2 count with no outs, Sebastian Valle blasted a no doubter to left field to send Mexico home with the win.

Mexico now sits atop the standings and is assured a spot in the semifinals next Monday regardless of what happens in its final game on Sunday night against Cuba.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 3-0
  2. Cuba 2-0
  3. Venezuela 1-1
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-3

Caribbean Series in Culiacan

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Cuba pounds 12 hits in win over Puerto Rico at 2017 Caribbean Series

Vladimir Garcia (W, 1-0) tossed 6.0 innings allowing just one run en route to leading Cuba to a 6-1 victory over Puerto Rico at the 2017 Caribbean Series. William Saavedra went 3-for-4 with a 2-run home run in the 7th inning improving Cuba to 2-0. The loss drops Puerto Rico to 0-3.

Cuba took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Carlos Benitez drove in Denis Laza with an RBI single to center. Puerto Rico quickly countered with a run of their own in the next half inning to put the score at 1-1.

It did not remain there for long.

In the bottom of the 3rd Cuba broke the game open with 3 more runs to pull ahead 4-1. Alfredo Despaigne got the scoring started with a RBI single to center scoring Yunior Paumier. William Saavedra followed with an RBI double. Carlos Benitez pushed the final run across the plate in the inning with a sacrifice fly to right scoring Despaigne.

Notable Performances: Saavedra finished the game with 3 hits and 3 RBI. Despaigne scored twice and Livan Moinelo pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

Cuba will face off with Venezuela tomorrow night which could be a game between undefeated teams depending on how Venezuela handles a streaking Mexico tonight.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 2-0
  2. Cuba 2-0
  3. Venezuela 1-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-3

Cuba Caribbean Series

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Venezuela and Mexico Win on Day 2 of 2017 Caribbean Series

Day 2 of the 2017 Caribbean Series saw Venezuela turn away a late inning comeback from Puerto Rico as the small island nation dropped its second straight game.

Venezuela 4, Puerto Rico 3

Venezuela jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. After a disputed home run wound up as a double for Rene Reyes (1-for-4), Alex Romero (0-for-3) reached on a fielding error which allowed Reyes to score the first run of the game. The very next pitch was deposited in the left field stands by Jesus Flores (2-for-3) giving Venezuela a 3-0 lead.

Puerto Rico tried to rally with 2 outs in the bottom of the 2nd. After two quick outs, Puerto Rico strung together 3 straight singles from David Vidal (2-for-4), Henry Ramos (1-for-4), and Ivan De Jesus (2-for-3) to score its first run of the game.

Venezuela upped the lead to 4-1 after the top of the 4th inning when Jesus Flores doubled with 2 outs. He would come around to score on a RBI single from Ronny Cedeno (2-for-4).

Puerto Rico tried to rally with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ruben Gotay (1-for-2) walked and then David Vidal blasted a 2-run home run to left field pulling Puerto Rico to within 1 run. That is as close as they would get.

Omar Bencomo (W, 1-0) picked up the win after allowing just 1 run in 5 innings. He gave up just 4 hits and struck out 6. Hassan Pena (S, 1) picked up the save pitching a scoreless 9th inning. Adalberto Flores (L, 0-1) took the loss tossing 4 innings giving up 4 runs, 2 earned.

Mexico 7, Dominican Republic 2

Mexico jumped out quickly in the top of the 1st inning. Chris Roberson led off the game with a single to right, advanced to second on a ground out, and then scored on a single from C.J. Retherford giving Mexico a quick 1-0 lead.

But the Dominican Republic quickly tied up the game in the bottom of the 1st. Lead off hitter Ronny Rodriguez got it started by reaching on a throwing error by Mexico shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt that pulled the first baseman off the bag. That would come back to haunt Mexico after Zoilo Almonte hit a slicing line drive down the left field line for a double to score Rodriguez from first base.

The Dominican Republic took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 3rd on great base running from Ronnier Mustelier. Mustelier was on first and running on a pitch to Leury Garcia who popped it into right field. The ball fell for a single in front of the rightfielder and as the ball was tossed into second base from the outfield, Mustelier never slowed down and beat the throw home to score the go-ahead run.

However, Mexico would strike back in the top of the 5th inning. Xorge Carrillo led the inning off by getting hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt, Chris Roberson tapped back to the mound, but as pitcher Cesar Valdez was trying to throw him out at first he slipped and it was a bang bang play. Originally called out, Mexico challenged the play and the replay showed that Roberson just beat out the throw. So with runners at the corners, Jason Bourgeois came up with a big 2-run triple putting Mexico back on top 3-2.

Mexico put the game out of reach in the top of the 7th inning. After 2 quick outs, Jason Bourgeois tripled for the second time in the game. He would come home on a ground ball by Yuniesky Betancourt which was booted by Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara. That error would lead to two more runs as the next batter, C.J. Retherford, would launch a home run down the left field line to make it 6-2 Mexico.

Hector Velazquez (W, 1-0) picked up the win for Mexico. He tossed 5 innings giving up 2 runs, only 1 earned, on four hits. He struck out 7 and walked 3. Cesar Valdez (L, 0-1) took the loss going only 4.1 innings. He gave up 3 runs on six hits.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Cuba 5:00 p.m.
  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 2-0
  2. Cuba 1-0
  3. Venezuela 1-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-2

Venezuela 2017 Caribbean Series

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Day 1 of 2017 Caribbean Series in the Books; Mexico and Cuba Win

Day 1 is in the books in the 2017 Caribbean Series. Cuba (Granma Alazanes) defeated the Dominican Republic (Tigres del Licey) 4-0 to claim the first win of the series.

Cuba jumped out in front in the top of the 1st inning and never looked back. Lead off hitter Roel Santos (2-for-4) tripled to lead off the game. He would score two batters later when Dominican catcher Webster Rivas allowed a passed ball letting Santos scamper home from third with the first run of the game.

Later in the 5th inning, Cuba would add 3 more to finish all the scoring for the game. The inning began with a ground out and then things started to go downhill from there for the Dominican Republic pitching staff. Carlos Benitez walked on 4 straight balls. Frank Morejon followed Benitez with a single to right. After a quick trip to the mound, Yoelkis Cespedes singled to load the bases.

With the bases loaded and just one out, Edgar Garcia comes in to relieve Ivan Pineyro and promptly uncorked a wild pitch to make it 2-0 Cuba. On the very next pitch Roel Santos was back again doing damage. This time he doubled to right to score both Morejon and Cespedes to make it 4-0.

That would be all that Cuba would need as Lazaro Blanco (W, 1-0) shut down the Dominican bats for 6.1 innings. He struck out 6 and gave up just 5 hits to pick up the win. Livan Moinelo (S, 1) pitched the last 2.2 innings giving up just 2 hits to pick up the save.

Ivan Pineyro (L, 0-1) would take the loss going 4.1 innings allowing all 4 runs on 4 hits.

Cuba has Thursday off and will return to the field on Friday to face Puerto Rico. The Dominican Republic will try and bounce back again tomorrow night against Mexico in their second game.

Game 2 – Mexico Puerto Rico

Former Braves and Orioles farmhand Daniel Rodriguez had a no-hitter going into the 5th inning. He made it 4.2 innings before it was broken up on a dying single to center field. Mexicali Centerfielder Chris Roberson (2-for-4) almost made a great sliding catch to keep the no-no alive, but the ball bounced out of his glove before falling safely. Rodriguez, pitching at home in Culiacan, last pitched in affiliated ball in 2015.

Matching Rodriguez inning for inning was Orlando Roman for Puerto Rico who tossed 5 shutout innings before being relieved by William Oliver in the 6th.

Daniel Rodriguez was relieved by Derrick Loop (W, 1-0) in the 7th inning only to give up a solo home run from David Vidal (1-for-3) giving Puerto Rico a 1-0 lead. Vidal turned on a pitch and blasted it down the left field line for only the 2nd hit for Puerto Rico.

Mexico rallied in the bottom of the 7th putting runners at the corners with 1 out and getting a run when Puerto Rico couldn’t turn a double play. One pitch later Chris Roberson blasted a 2-run home run to left-center field putting Mexico up 3-1 after 7.

In the top of the 8th, Ivan de Jesus (2-for-3) made it 3-2 with a blast to left field off of Mexicali reliever Sergio Romo. But Yuniesky Betancourt (1-for-4) got the 2-run lead back in the bottom of the 8th with an opposite field home run making it 4-2 Mexico.

Jake Sanchez (S, 1) came in to close it down in the 9th picking up the save.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

  • Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico 5:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Dom. Rep. 9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 03:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Cuba 5:00 p.m.
  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Cuba 1-0
  2. Mexico 1-0
  3. Venezuela 0-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-1
  5. Puerto Rico 0-1

Posted in Latin America, Tournaments0 Comments

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Polls

Who will win the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

  • Puerto Rico (31%, 27 Votes)
  • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
  • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Venezuela (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Netherlands (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Japan (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Chinese Taipei (1%, 1 Votes)
  • South Korea (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Canada (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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